I am amazed that so-called influential voices like Tavis Smiley, and his sidekick Cornell West among others, continue to blame President Obama for the declining condition of Black people. While Black people offered 95 percent of their vote to support the election and reelection of President Obama, that was only a few percentage points more than they gave to Gore and Kerry who lost in 2000 and 2004 respectively. So, the notion that we have some inordinate level of influence is misguided.
Secondly, the critics seem to ignore the reality of governing. The opposition to President Obama is more widespread than we acknowledge. It doesn't stop at the House of Representatives and the Senate. It extends to State Governors, State Legislators, and this local opposition gave birth to the Tea Party and protection for those who oppose the President through the 2010 gerrymandering redistricting actions. And the Fox News Machine along with Right Wing Talk Radio are leveraged to maximum effect -- especially when they invite Tavis Smiley to criticize the President.
And we expect the President to use his bully pulpit to combat the opposition machinery. We Black people have been listening to preachers for so long that we confuse what a President can get done with the influence of Black mega-preachers.
Yes, he is the President of the USA, with more stuff on his plate than any leader on the planet. Added to this is the "coded language" of those who want to "take back our country." Those of us who have been Black all our lives understand what that means.
The devastation of the Black middle class preceded Obama's presidency with sub-prime loans and dismantling of affirmative action, along with Michelle Alexander's exposure of the "New Jim Crow", the Supreme Court's Citizen's United ruling, and dismantling of the Voting Rights Act. How is Obama responsible for all of that? Eric Holder, his Attorney General, is doing what he can. But the opposition wants us to do exactly what Smiley and West are doing -- make it impossible for another Black man to ascend to the White House in our lifetime, and the lifetimes of our grandchildren by blaming our demise on our first Black President.
Where is Black political and economic power converging? Is it in the more than 600 Black mayors across the country? Is it with the 42 members of the Black Congressional Caucus? Is it with Black entrepreneurs? What about Black Academia? How can Smiley and West use their influence to improve any of the conditions they complain about? Instead of influential Blacks seeking ways to consolidate our gains and form coalitions that affect change, we are throwing rocks at the President. The situation couldn't be worse than if the opposition distributed new copies of the "Willie Lynch Letter" hoax.
There is no "Black Knight" to save us. Shame on us for not using this historical achievement in our best interests. President Obama didn't do this to us. We must recognize who the real opposition is, then do the hard work of consolidating our gains and working together in our self-interests to avoid the declines that Tavis Smiley describes. If we don't learn how to do that, we will always be beggars and complainers at the short end of the stick.
See article at: http://bit.ly/TavisSmiley-ObamaIsToBlame